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Acai Berry: What is it, Properties and Benefits for our Health

Acai Berry: What is it, Properties and Benefits for our Health

The acai berry is one of the healthiest natural products from nature. In fact, it is classified as a key food or superfood.

What is Acai Berry?

Acai berry is the fruit from the acai palm or Euterpe oleracea. This plant is native to Central and South America, to areas such as Peru and Brazil. For a long time, it has been used to feed indigenous tribes. Most certainly, it is one of the berries with most benefits for our health. More specifically, it is a great antioxidant capable of slowing down premature aging.

Acai is an extraordinary natural fruit. Each day, there are more and more people who want to eat products with great benefits for their health.

This product provides a great energy supply, increasing the vitality and resistance of those who eat it. Therefore, it is very good for athletes, like fruit.

Euterpe oleracea

Acai has ten times more antioxidants than grapes and two times more than cranberries. Acai has from 10 to 30 times more anthocyanins from wine.

Features of acai berry

It has a dark red-purple color and the size of a grape. The berry has a big seed, but most of the nutrients are located in its juicy pulp. In addition, its flavor is similar to that of dark chocolate, with a bitter aftertaste. Acai berry is one of the most effective products to counter the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, apart from treating the inflammation.

This berry has become a traditional product of the local gastronomy from some countries like Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Surinam, Guayana and Venezuela.

In these countries, specially Brazil, it is very common to find this berry in many drinks, desserts, refreshments and even liquor. Meanwhile, it is increasingly becoming popular in the rest of the world and it can be purchased in parapharmacies, herbalist’s shops and even fruit stores.

An interesting fact about Acai berries is that their harvest is done manually. In fact, the Acai harvest is the main economic activity from Peru and Brasil. The berries are harvested in the morning and taken to the market in the afternoon.

Part of the harvest is used to make acai powder by grinding the fruit. It is important to mention that ripe acai berries deteriorate very quickly. So, the berries are processed within 24 hours after being harvested in order to preserve their high nutrient content.

That is why the best way of taking acai outside Brazil is using dehydrated powder in capsules or frozen pulp.

Acai palm tree

Euterpe oleracea palm tree

Traditional use of acai berry

Acai berry has been used by the native people from the Amazon to treat diarrhea, parasites, hemorrhages and ulcers. The recipe to make some kind of infusion made from the acai seeds to treat fever has been passed from one generation to the next. In Peruvian culture, they make an acai root infusion that helps to treat menstrual pain, hepatic diseases and malaria.

A handful of acai berries

The berries are an effective natural remedy for many pathologies

Benefits of using acai berry

  • Providing antioxidant protection
  • More energy and vitality
  • Detox effect
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Lowering the cholesterol
  • Regulating the blood sugar
  • Ally against constipation
  • Improving the nervous system
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Controlling the appetite

Basket of acai berries

Acai Berry

Properties of Acai Berry

Composition

The berries from the Euterpe oleracea plant provide other important nutrients apart from a high antioxidant content. Some of them are electrolytes, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, C and E) and trace elements (potassium, magnesium, copper, calcium and zinc. Moreover, they also provide amino acids and even essential fatty acids.

ORAC score

The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score of 100 grams of lyophylized Acai powder is more than 50.000. This is a very impressive number if we take into account that most of the population take less than 1000 ORAC units a day.

Benefits of acai berries

Acai is known as the “Antioxidant from the Amazon”

Fatty Acid Natural Source

Acai berry is rich in polyunsaturated “healthy fats” like essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as omega 9. The essential fatty acids perform many functions in the body: regulating the hormone production, the immune and cardiovascular system, the cholesterol, the nerve impulses. Moreover, they preserve our skin and hair by keeping them hydrated and healthy.

Phytonutrients

Acai is one of the best fruits from the world due to their nutrient and phytochemical content which has a powerful antioxidant effect. Anthocyanins are the substances responsible for giving red, purple and blue colors to many fruits and berries. For instance, these elements are present in cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and red grapes. The acai berry also contains resveratrol, cyanidin, ferulic acid, delphinidin, petunidin. Moreover, it also has proanthocyanidin astringent tannins such as epicatechin, protocatechuic acid and ellagic acid. All of them have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.

Acai berries nutrients

Excellent vegetable sterol source

Vegetable sterols (beneficial phytosterols) are also present in acai, including B-sitosterol, campesterol and sigmasterol. Phytosterols are good for our healthy and to preserve the functioning of our cardiovascular and digestive systems.

Good fiber source

100g of lyophylized acai berry powder contains around 14g of fiber.

If you want to learn more about the Benefits of Fiber, click here

Nutrient Value per 100g

Nutrient facts

Source

Antioxidant properties of Acai Berry

Most of the benefits of Acai are due to its antioxidant effect that blocks the free radicals. These elements are unstable molecules that have a missing electron. What they do is basically feed from the electrons of healthy molecules in order to survive. Consequently, this produces oxidative stress that can alter the cells and DNA, triggering premature aging and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. In some studies, they even mention the positive effects of acai berry of the sport performance.

Benefits of acai berry

Heart Health

Acai for heart health
The blood vessels are particularly vulnerable to the oxidative stress produced by the free radicals. That is why taking antioxidants can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to an article from the Nutrition Journal from 2011, acai berries can lower the cholesterol and improve the metabolic syndrome risk factors in overweight people.

A group of researchers recruited 10 overweight subjects. They took a daily dose of acai pulp twice a day for a month. After this period, the researchers analyzed the metabolic syndrome risk factors, including: the levels of cholesterol, insulin, blood glucose and C-reactive protein (CRP) which is an inflammation marker. The metabolic syndrome is a disease characterized by central obesity, hypertension and glucose altered by the insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been related to a higher risk of type-2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular diseases.

According to the Nutrition Journal, the daily acai pulp intake in a shake reduced the blood sugar and cholesterol levels in a 5.3% and 10.6% respectively. These results are more than enough to avoid the risk of suffering diabetes, according to the researchers from said study.

Recently, a study about the benefits of acai found out that its juice can have anti-inflammatory properties against atherosclerosis. The study was conducted on overweight people, contributing to inhibit the pro-inflammatory elements called cytokines with inflammatory mediators. According to the researchers, its efficacy comes from the high fatty acid and phenol content.

Brain Function

Acai supports the brain
The acai, cranberry and strawberry extracts can improve the functioning of the brain and protect it against aging according to a new study. The body carries out a controlled process called autophagy to break down cells and recycling toxic proteins. The future studies about the benefits of acai will focus on acai supplementation to see if it can revert or delay age-related motor or cognitive deterioration.

Anti-inflammatory effect

Anti-inflammatory effect of acai

A study proved the anti-inflammatory effects of Acai in the main defense cells from the brain. According to the reserachers, the microgial activation can result in the production of cytotoxic elements associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

The results proved that the acai pulp fractions could protect against the release of pro-inflammatory compounds, including COX-2 and TNF-alpha. This would suggest that acai can combat certain inflammatory and oxidative mediators of cell aging. Researchers need to study the specific phytochemicals of each fraction to find out the most powerful element against cell inflammation.

Skin Aspect

Acai and skin care

One of the main effects of taking acai could be delaying the first signs of aging reflected on the skin. By reducing the oxidative damage, we will get rid of the mechanisms that affect the texture and elasticity of the skin. Moreover, another benefit is to keep the skin hydrated. Those who suffer stress tend to experience several symptoms: skin patches and black dot, wrinkles, flaccidity and even discoloration. All of them are linked to the damage caused by the free radicals in the skin. Many people also use acai berry to get rid of scars or stretch marks. Thanks to acai berry, we will have a healthier and young-looking skin.

Weight control

Acai for weight loss diets
Acai berries will help us lose weight as long as we combine them with a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and physical exercise. The berries have powerful detoxifying effects on the human body. Moreover, they are a traditional source of omega 3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. The fiber and healthy fats inhibit the appetite, as well as delaying the increase of the blood sugar levels. Consequently, the blood sugar is not stored as fat. In addition, acai also helps to clean the organism. Taking fiber helps to stimulate the intestinal peristalsis which can be useful for constipation.

Contraindications

Contraindications of acai

Eating acai berries can be good for our health in general. In fact, it is used by many in order to strengthen their health. However, there can be some interactions that we should take into account. For example, you should do some tests if you are allergic to pollen or other fruits. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant. Do not use them if you suffer diarrhea. You should measure the amount of calories and sugars of the fruit if you choose this format. But you can also choose taking an extract in order to obtain all the benefits from these berries.

How to take acai berries?

We suggest purchasing frozen berries so that you will manage to preserve them for a long time. Another choice would be getting lyophilized acai powder, ready to mix with liquid. And finally, you can also purchase a capsule supplement.

Who can benefit from acai berry?

  • It is great for those who want to improve their health by adding it to their diet and recipes.
  • Advised for those who want antioxidant support (athletes, the elderly, smokers, etc).
  • Those who are dieting or following a weight loss plan.
  • People who want to improve their cardiovascular health (since it helps to lower bad cholesterol).

Acai berry smoothie

Acai smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of frozen Acai Berries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup of “baby” spinach
  • 1/2 glass of oat milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Preparation

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until you get a homogeneous blend.

Where can I buy Acai Berry?

You can buy acai berry supplements in HSN always at the best price.

Maqui berries vs acai berries

Both Acai and Maqui berries are two great supplements filled with nutrients, antioxidants, omega fatty acids and fiber. They have great properties for our health, including detox effects, anti-aging, immune support, anti-inflammatory benefits that can be helpful to treat throat pain and fever.

They are also beneficial for treating more serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. Without any doubt, these two berries are very nutritious, but there are some differences between them that should be taken into consideration.

Nutrition

Acai berries have antioxidants and essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. They are rich in omega fatty acids. Maqui berries also have antioxidants, omega fatty acids as well as vitamins A and C.

Both have a high polyphenol and amino acid content that helps to keep the cells healthy and repair the damaged ones. Moreover, they also contain minerals like iron, potassium and calcium, as well as dietary fiber.

Maqui vs Acai

Omega fatty acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that the body cannot produce and they are important to stay healthy. Fatty acids have coagulating and anti-inflammatory properties. They help to lower the cholesterol and the triglyceride levels by reducing the blood pressure. Moreover, they can lower the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis, asthma, cholitis, some types of cancer and the deterioration of our mental health.

The omega-9 fatty acid is a monounsaturated fat that the body produce with the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Acai berries have omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Maqui contains omega-9 and omega-6, but no omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 has properties against depression, childhood disorders, heart diseases and cancer.

Antioxidants

Both acai and maqui berries have a extraordinary antioxidant compound called anthocyanin. This element is known for its anti-aging benefits and its ability to neutralize the free radicals. Consequently, it fights against tissue damage and strengthens the immune system.

Maqui berries have a significantly higher ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) than Acai berries. Between 4 and 10 times more actually. Maqui berry has an ORAC score of 27600 per 100 grams compared to the 16700 ORAC per 100 grams of Acai berry. So, Maqui berries are more powerful than Acai berries when it comes to fighting against the free radicals.

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